Exploration of experiences of counsellors and psychotherapists providing psychotherapy in second language

Arshadi, Mehrshad (2018) Exploration of experiences of counsellors and psychotherapists providing psychotherapy in second language. Other thesis, Middlesex University / New School of Psychotherapy and Counselling. [Thesis]

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This research explored the experiences of bilingual therapists, whose first language was not English, conducting psychotherapy/counselling in English. Eight bilingual therapists/ counsellors who were originally from six different countries were interviewed using semi-structured interviews. All of the bilingual therapists had the experience of working in the United Kingdom in English as well as working in their own mother tongue.
The findings were analysed using Interpretive Phenomenological Analysis (IPA) and five clusters of themes were identified. The first cluster of themes was related to the emotions experienced, like ‘anxiety’ and ‘frustration’. The second group of themes was those pertaining to the relationship of the participants with their clients, like ‘avoidance of clarification’, ‘shift of attention’ and ‘delay in the pace of therapy’. The third array of themes described the professional identity of the participants as therapists/ counsellors, like fear of ‘the client’s judgment’, or feeling of ‘not being self’, and also the possibility of a ‘hierarchy of acceptance of languages in the United Kingdom’. The fourth collection of themes represented the support systems that were available to the participants when they had difficulties working in English as a second language. The prime source of support for the research participants was their supervisors. They also referred to ‘review with their clients’ and ‘help of a colleague’. The fifth cluster of themes was related to any reference to culture in their interviews. All eight participants believed that culture and language overlap to some degree and are hard to separate.
The dissemination of this dissertation was to promote the awareness of bilingual therapists regarding the hardships of working in a second language, and to increase the awareness of supervisors, academic staff and regulating authorities like UKCP and BPS of the problems bilingual therapists might face in working in English as a second language. This study recommends the integration of short-term workshops in the accreditation process or curriculum of studies of such bilingual therapists about the potential hurdles they might face in fulfilling their job as a therapist. As some of the findings—like avoiding clarifications or pretending to comprehend—could be potentially harmful to clients and their therapists, a systematic review of the work of international students or bilingual therapists who have language-related issues seems advisable.
Based on the findings of this research, some ideas for further studies are suggested. As most of the fear of being judged and the anxiety experienced by the participants were subjective experiences, a dyad study of both client and therapist experiences could investigate the similarities and discrepancies between the therapists’ perceptions and their clients’ experiences of them. Research into the experiences of the supervisors of such therapists could lead to a richer understanding of this phenomenon from another angle.
Keywords: Second language in Psychotherapy, Bilingualism, Counselling, IPA, Cultural differences

Item Type: Thesis (Other)
Research Areas: A. > School of Science and Technology > Psychology
B. > Theses
C. Collaborative Partners > New School of Psychotherapy and Counselling (NSPC)
Item ID: 24290
Depositing User: Vimal Shah
Date Deposited: 24 May 2018 12:42
Last Modified: 21 Jun 2021 16:48
URI: https://eprints.mdx.ac.uk/id/eprint/24290

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